LatinaLista — Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee, made headlines last week when he announced that he planned to have a new immigration reform bill put together by Labor Day.
Sen. Chuck Schumer's tough-guy approach to immigration reform increasingly appeals to conservatives.
From preliminary reports, conservative congressional members are liking what Schumer has to say about the new bill, or rather they like his "attitude."
They like the fact that he sounds tougher (on undocumented immigrants) this time around.
Yet, for some conservatives, Schumer isn't tough enough. They fear a blanket amnesty.
They would rather see all undocumented immigrants return to their native country, stand in an imaginary line to get the proper paperwork and then return to the U.S. to become citizens.
Aside from being a delusional expectation, there is already evidence that such a move would devastate this country in more ways than can possibly be imagined.
Like former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich keeps popping up on news opinion shows sharing his political stream-of-thought, though he only speaks for himself and doesn't even represent the Republican Party.
In his latest televised appearance, Gingrich -- a vocal proponent of English-only policy -- appeared on Univision anchor Jorge Ramos' political talk show Al Punto.
While on the show, he told Ramos that he would like to see any immigration reform bill include a legal guest worker program -- starting with the 12 million people illegally living in the United States.
GINGRICH: What I said was that we should have a program to have a legal guest-worker system. We should be very clear that we want to increase legal immigration...I think symbolically, you know, the McCain-Kennedy bill said you have to pay a $5,000 fine to the U.S. government. You can fly home, get the visa, and come back for less than $5,000. So you're asking me -- is it possible over a 2-3 year period that every person at some point go home and get the guest-worker permit -- because you couldn't do this in week. This would have to be a transition of 2-3 years. I think virtually everybody would it if they knew we were serious...
Ramos pressed Gingrich further to make sure he was serious:
RAMOS: Let me very clear about this, so you would actually ask 12 million undocumented people to voluntarily leave the United States so that they can become citizens?
GINGRICH: I'd ask them to go home, get the card, and come back. And again, how many people go home anyways on a regular basis?
Obviously, Gingrich lives in another reality. If he still lived in this one, he would know that his party's punitive enforcement of immigration policy along the border has been so successful that families do not go home anymore on a regular basis and in actuality is the reason why there are 12 million living illegally in the country.
If 12 million people were to pack up and follow Gingrich's proposal, whole towns in the United States would be decimated and the impact on local economies and industries would be devastating.
We've already seen evidence of this on a smaller scale in those small towns where ICE raids took place. Some of those towns suffered such economic setbacks that they have become ghost towns of what they used to be.
How hard is it to understand that undocumented workers don't just provide labor for certain industries, they revitalize communities and dying towns with their presence and community involvement.
However, in classic "out-of-touch Beltway Republicanism" Gingrich tries to present himself as being "in touch." In fact, he has a new Twitter feed in Spanish -- where he asks Spanish-speaking readers to tell him what they thought of his appearance on Ramos' show.
Though it's known that Gingrich did take some Spanish lessons a while back, chances are he wouldn't be able to respond to any of the comments, let alone read them, without help.
It seems a little disingenuous to ask people to tell you what they think knowing you can't read or respond to them in any way that they can understand and that you don't even condone that they speak any other language than English when engaging in a public forum.
It's obvious that any immigration reform bill will not only have to include provisions to reform current immigration policy but, in the process, there will have to be more of a sincere effort on behalf of conservatives to reform their way of thinking about the issue.
They need to get back to reality and see the situation for what it is -- that 12 million people, because they couldn't leave to go home, have planted deep roots in this country and they and their children consider the United States their home.
It's time conservatives get in touch with what's happening in this country.